[PAST EVENT] Matthew Thomas Simons: Physics Dissertation Defense

June 26, 2014
Small Hall, Room 122
300 Ukrop Way
Williamsburg, VA 23185Map this location
Quantum information is the next frontier in communications. To realize quantum communications, the quantum mechanical properties of today's best communication medium, light, must be harnessed in a scalable and efficient manner. Whispering-gallery mode resonators (WGMRs), a type of optical cavity, have advantages over traditional designs that can enhance processes used in the generation of nonclassical (quantum) states of light. In particular they reduce the power threshold for intensity-dependent nonlinear phenomena. One such process, second harmonic generation, can reduce the shot noise of light below the standard quantum limit. This dissertation explores the theoretical analysis and experimental tests of noise reduction through second harmonic generation in a crystalline whispering-gallery mode resonator. We also observe the generation of another nonlinear optical process, hyper-Raman scattering, at modest optical powers inside a crystalline WGMR. The change in optical properties of vanadium dioxide due to an optically-induced phase transition is also studied as a potential Q-switching material in a WGMR-type cavity.

Matt T. Simons was born on the 29th of March, 1985 in Fairfax County, Virginia. He attended Floris Elementary School, Benjamin Franklin and Rachel Carson Middle Schools, and Oakton High School. While at Oakton, he discovered an interest in physics thanks to his two great physics teachers and the Team America Rocketry Challenge.
In 2003, he entered the University of Virginia. He graduated with distinction in 2007 with a Bachelor of Science in Physics and a minor in Foreign Affairs.
Matt entered the College of William & Mary in the fall of 2007, and began work with Dr. Irina Novikova in the Quantum Optics Group to develop whispering-gallery mode resonators as a source of nonclassical light. He received a Master of Science in 2009.